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User Services Assistant, Smith College, Northampton, MA

Smith College is hiring multiple openings for 18-month fixed-term User Services Assistants in the Libraries.

Job Summary

The User Services Assistant plays a vital role in ensuring seamless access to resources and services for Smith students, faculty, staff, and extended user communities. They are responsible for managing circulation and patron assistance to facilitate efficient use of library services and resources.

The Smith College Libraries is seeking a User Services Assistant, who can deliver excellent, welcoming, and responsive customer service to the college and extended user communities. Providing access to library services, resources, collections, and equipment at one or more of the Libraries’ service points, the User Services Assistant actively listens to questions and requests from the user community, interprets policies and procedures, and provides referrals to the Libraries’ services and resources to address users’ needs.

Take appropriate actions to support a diverse workforce and participate in the College’s efforts to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming work environment.

Essential Functions

Direct User Support (90%)

1. Circulation Management:
Interact with faculty, students, and other patrons concerning all circulation functions including loans of library materials, reserve items, finding resources at consortial libraries, resolving issues about fines and missing items, and assistance with requesting materials through interlibrary loan.

2. Public Service:
Provide excellent customer service at the Central Service Point (CSP) in the Neilson Library by assisting patrons in locating resources, navigating the library catalog, and using online databases and research tools. Offer guidance on library policies, procedures, and services to patrons. Triage questions as they arise.

Answer questions about access to materials and reference questions, demonstrate how to find library resources such as journal articles, and refer patron to the appropriate librarians for consultations and in-depth research support. Inform and register visitors and additional members of the user community to appropriate borrowing privileges.

Have a sufficiently thorough understanding of services and resources available throughout not only the library, but also the College and often the community, to effectively interpret questions and determine whether to answer or correctly refer the question, or both. Answers may require skills in empathy, instruction, technology troubleshooting, and internet searching

3. Facilities Management/Accessibility:
Open, staff, and/or close Neilson Library during its operating hours. Manage the day-to-day operations of the library including maintaining physical collections, and being present to answer whatever questions may arise.
Report maintenance issues, receive and follow up with feedback on the facility, understand how physical space is used and meet needs as best as possible, and liaise with library and campus Facilities departments.

4. Technology and Systems Management:
Proficiently operate library management systems and software to maintain accurate records of library holdings, user accounts, and transactions.
Troubleshoot technical issues related to access services and collaborate with IT support as needed.

5. Security/Emergency Management:
Be point of contact for emergency or security incidents. Respond to injuries, thefts, disputes, and a variety of other urgent situations by interfacing with Campus Safety or other campus or security entities, managing patron concerns, and determining whether and when to close all or part of the library. Must have skills in conflict resolution and factual reporting of events as well as attention to detail and capacity to remain calm.

6. Policy Implementation and Compliance:
Implement and enforce library policies related to circulation, access, and resource usage.

5. Training and Support:
Assist in the supervision and training of student employees. Guide student employees, assign them work, and assist student employees as needed.
Assist in training new staff members on access services procedures and policies.

7. Project Support and Management:
Assist and/or lead with special projects such as stacks maintenance, shelf-reading, resolution of issues such as lost/missing items or library fines, and tracking of statistics.

Events and Projects (10%)
Provide staff support for public events in Neilson Library. This includes open houses, tours, as well as events taking place in Neilson

Perform related duties as required

Other Functions


Engage in continuous professional self-development and keep current with emerging librarianship. Participate in the work of the Libraries through service on library-wide and Five College committes. Participate in library wide teams, committees and working groups and professional activities. Represent Smith College Libraries at conferences and engage with national organizations in access services and public services.

Will include occasional mornings, nights, and weekends as needed. Perform related duties as required. All employees are expected to participate in the College’s efforts to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming work environment.

Minimum Qualifications (knowledge, skills, education, experience, certifications, licenses)

  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Strong customer service skills including problem solving, and the ability to effectively communicate with diverse library users.
  • Attention to detail, organizational skills, and the ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment.
  • Experience in customer service

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience working in a library setting, preferably in access services, circulation, or interlibrary loans.
  • Proficiency in using library management systems, integrated library systems (ILS), and online databases.
  • Knowledge of research and reference materials
  • Demonstrated experience analyzing and evaluating data to identity trends and improve services and operations
  • Flexibility in work schedule, including evenings or weekends.
  • Commitment to staying updated on industry trends, technologies, and best practices in library access services.


  • A strong commitment to public service
  • Strong critical analysis skills
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written; strong interpersonal skills and public service attitude. Ability to work effectively in a team environment
  • Excellent customer service skills; ability to handle difficult situations with courtesy, tact, and patience; exercise good judgment consistent with library procedures; and work in a collegial, fast-paced environment
  • Strong cultural competencies and ability to work productively and respectfully with people from varied backgrounds

Please attach/upload a current resume and cover letter in order for your application to be considered for this position.

Position Type:Fixed Term

About Smith College

Located in Northampton, MA, Smith College is one of the largest women’s colleges in the country and is dedicated to excellence in teaching and research across the liberal arts.  A faculty of outstanding scholars interact with students in small classes, as advisors, and through student-faculty research projects. The College is a member of the Five College Consortium with Amherst, Hampshire and Mt. Holyoke Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students cross-enroll and faculty cross-teach across the Five Colleges.

As set forth in our mission and values, Smith College is committed to promoting a culture of  equity and inclusion among students, staff and faculty.  The College will not discriminate in employment on the basis of age, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, genetic information, age, veteran status, physical or mental disability, or any other classification protected by law. Smith College is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination.